What’s classic motorbike insurance?
Classic bike insurance covers older motorcycles for things like theft, fire, or damage from an accident.
There’s no universal age where a bike becomes ‘classic’, as every provider has its own definition.
Some insurers will consider a bike to be a classic when it’s 15 years old, while others cover bikes which are 25 years or older.
There are also providers who offer ‘future classic’ policies for newer motorbikes that are likely to become a classic in the future.
Regardless of its age, you can cover a classic motorbike with standard motorbike insurance or opt for a specialist policy.
Do you need insurance for a classic bike?
If you ride your bike on the road, you’re legally required to have at least third party insurance. For more cover you can choose a third party fire and theft or comprehensive policy.
If you’re not taking your motorcycle on any public roads you should still consider storage or ‘laid-up’ cover from a specialist insurer.
A laid-up insurance policy will cover your bike for fire and theft only while it’s kept in safe, locked storage.
This type of cover might be useful during restoration, or if you keep your bike purely for display.
What’s the difference between classic motorcycle insurance and standard motorcycle cover?
Classic motorcycle policies can be cheaper than standard policies.
That’s because owners of classic bikes are statistically a lower risk to insurers. They tend to be more experienced riders, travel fewer miles and mostly use them in clear, dry weather conditions.
Older bikes also tend to have smaller, engines and are cheaper to repair than powerful and mechanically complex modern machines.
Classic bike insurance generally caters for lower mileage uses and safe storage as the motorcycle isn’t usually used for day-to-day riding or commuting.
Many classic policies also have a minimum policyholder age of 25, although cover does exist for 21-year-olds with a full category A motorbike licence.
Some insurers will make an agreement with you about the value of your bike, rather than using the standard market value.
This is because well-maintained classic bikes hold their value and don’t depreciate as much as other vehicles of the same age.
Your insurer will probably ask for evidence of your bike’s condition. Photos, receipts of work done, and parts bought can help verify the bike’s value.
Stay up to date on the market value and, if it increases, tell your insurer.
Agreed value policies can cost more than standard classic motorbike cover or include higher administration fees.
What cover do I need for a classic motorcycle?
There are three main cover types of classic motorbike insurance. The type you need depends on how much cover you want and what you can afford.
A comprehensive policy will cover third party claims, as well as repair or replacement of your own bike due to fire, theft or an accident.
It's the highest level of cover, so it might be right for you if your classic motorbike is particularly valuable, as you’re covered for a range of situations.
Third party fire and theft (TPFT)
TPFT will cover you for third party claims and if your vehicle is damaged due to fire or theft.
This type of insurance, or TPO, might be suitable if you don’t ride your bike often or it wouldn’t cost much to fix or replace.
Third party only (TPO)
This is the minimum level of cover you need by law. TPO covers you for claims against you where you're found to be at fault. But damage to or loss of your own vehicle isn't covered.
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Frequently asked questions
Insurers understand that classic scooters are just as cherished by enthusiasts as other classic motorbikes, so policy providers are able to offer similar cover.
One key distinction between a classic motorbike and classic scooter policy relates to the sort of licence you have, because scooters that meat certain criteria can be ridden with AM licence entitlement.
AM entitlement is given automatically on provisional and full driving licences if you have a valid Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) certificate.
Not all insurers will cover riders without a full motorbike licence, so your options can be more limited. But there are specialist companies who can offer cover to scooter riders with AM entitlement.
When it comes to maintaining a classic bike, it’s possible that new, manufacturer-approved parts won’t be available.
If you have to use non-approved parts, your insurer has to be informed – no matter how authentic they look. As with all motor insurance policies, any addition or modification to your motorbike must be declared.
If your classic motorcycle is more than 40 years old, and there have been no ‘substantial changes’ that alter the way it works, you can apply to stop paying vehicle tax.
This involves putting your vehicle into the ‘historic tax class’.
If you’re using your classic bike for business purposes, like wedding hire, it won’t be exempt.
If your bike is over 40 and has no substantial modifications, it no longer needs to get an MOT.
It still needs to be in a roadworthy condition though – you’d get a fine up to £2,500 and three penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous state.